Harvey J. Kaye: Time to March on Washington Again for Jobs and Freedom

Roundup: Historians' Take

Harvey J. Kaye is Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a member of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) and the American Federation of Teachers. The author of "Thomas Paine and the Promise of America," Kaye is currently completing "Fighting for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Great." Follow him: @HarveyJKaye

Dear Brother Trumka:

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the  March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rallied by the great black union leader  A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, with the assistance of civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin and UAW president  Walter Reuther, 250,000 Americans of every color and creed turned out on the National Mall on August 28, 1963 to demonstrate their support for guaranteeing equal rights and affording “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to all Americans.  And it is a day that generations will forever remember because of the words spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by the  Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.:  “I have a dream.”

No doubt plans are already underway to commemorate that event.  But we who believe in America’s purpose and promise of extending and deepening freedom, equality, and democracy must do more than commemorate it.  We must truly honor it.  And to do that, we cannot wait until August, 2013.

We need to not just recall but actually redeem the progressive spirit and vision of Randolph, Rustin, Reuther, and King.  We need to march....

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